If you are anything like me, you probably also just got done banging your head against your desk, your kitchen counter, a wall, or something along those lines because, well, the Chargers are still missing kicks due to a horrendous kicker situation.
For the better part of the last one, two, maybe twenty years, debacles in the third phase of the game have haunted the Charger to no end.
In their most recent tilt with the 49ers, Caleb Sturgis pushed the ball wide right on a 54-yard attempt. He also added two missed extra points which puts him at 6-of-9 on the season. He is only doing a hair better with field goals as he sits with seven made out of nine attempts.
Yes, yes, the Chargers won, but with much less room for error in a game that should have ended with a four point lead instead of two. I want to stress the importance of those two missed extra kicks because they can be a doozy on the mindset of players when they consider the potential for those kicks to come back and bite them later in the game. And they almost did.
With the Chargers struggling to maintain the two point lead through the remainder of the fourth quarter, the scoreboard likely felt like a ton of bricks on their demeanor when they know that, because of the kicker, they now have to worry about letting the Niners into field goal range instead of being able to just focus on keeping them out of the endzone.
We also cannot forget how absolutely demoralizing it is for the offense when they fight and claw to score a touchdown and they get a metaphorical kick in the gonads because their kicker can’t make a kick that needs to essentially be “automatic”.
It’s tough. It sucks. It’s incredibly frustrating. But the Bolts pulled out the win and we can all keep our hair on our heads instead of decorating the living floor like a weird, psychotic work of contemporary art.
LET’S GET TO IT!
RB Melvin Gordon
For the first time in 2018, and only the sixth time in his young career, Gordon surpassed the 100-yard rushing threshold against the Niners behind some surprisingly strong running as he found his groove early and often.
For the running back who often gets chided for going down on first contact, Gordon orchestrated a number of big boy runs in which he refused to be halted. His final numbers were also fairly uncharacteristic of the former-Wisconsin Badger as he totaled 104 yards on just 15 totes. His 6.9 yards per carry on the day were almost double his season average and, although he didn’t find the end zone on the ground, Gordon was just as productive through the air.
Philip Rivers’ third touchdown pass sailed Gordon’s way after he found a hole in the defense off a reverse pivot route from the right flanker spot. In total, Gordon caught seven of his 10 targets for an additional 55 yards, giving him 159 total yards from scrimmage on the night.
S Derwin James
Another day, another Derwin.....or something along those lines.
It seemed like just another day at the office for the Florida State-product as he finished third on the team with seven total tackles, a sack, a tackle-for-loss, three QB hits, and two passes defensed.
James was his usual-productive self as he impacted the game about as often as he filled the stat sheet.
His biggest play of the day came on a 2nd and 6 in the fourth as the 49ers were attempting to get down the field and into field goal range. James was sent off the right side and smacked into Beathard as he brought the ball up for a pass. The ball become dislodged before the quarterback’s arm came forward it sailed into the waiting arms of defensive end Isaac Rochell.
This was the final nail in the coffin for San Francisco as the Chargers ended the game with a string of kneel downs.
At this point, I’ve already lost count of all the massive, impact plays that the rookie has made through the team’s first four games.
Take a bow, Derwin.
S Jahleel Addae
As much as we could endlessly talk and talk about Derwin James and how he has been playing out of his mind so far, we could also vent and vent about the abysmal play of the safety starting opposite of number 33.
It’s a weird situation because one would think that a rookie coming in and outplaying a veteran at the same position would cause the veteran to be overcome with motivation to prove himself. However, this just doesn’t seem to be the case with Addae following what some could argue was his worst game of the season.
On CJ Beathard’s first touchdown of the night, even though Casey Hayward already blew the coverage, Addae should have been able break that throw up as his only responsibility was to shut down any routes thrown over the middle of the field. Since there was only one route that did this, it should have been an easy decision. Instead, Addae, who started seven yards back in the end zone, fell horredously for the play-action fake and didn’t see the slant by wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
His second blunder, arguably just as bad or even worse, was the 82-yard touchdown pass he allowed by tight end George Kittle.
On this play, Addae was playing single high in a situation where the Niners only had the potential for three downfirld routes. With Hayward on the field side receiver and Williams on the boundary wideout, Beathard dropped back and hit Kittle on a corner-post route on the right side of the field. As Kittle released, Addae waited only a second before turning and running towards Williams and his receiver running a go route. This left the entire middle of the field wide open for Kittle to catch the ball before completely turning Addae around and then dusting him into the end zone.
Now, Kittle is a phenomenal athlete at 6-foot-5 and 250+ pounds who ran a 4.53 forty-yard dash at last year’s NFL Combine. But Addae is a starting free safety in the NFL, one who was apparently worthy of a contract extension several years ago, but these misreads are eventually going to start costing the team games. And as of right now, the team already has a number of other factors that could potentially keep them out of the playoffs.
K Caleb Sturgis
I’m not really sure what I really have to say here other than the fact that Sturgis is simply not getting the job done. I mean, if it’s less surprising when your kicker misses and you find yourself hysterically laughing when another extra point misses wide right, then it might be time for a new kicker.
On the season, Sturgis is seven of nine on field goals with his latest miss coming from 54 yards out on Sunday. He unfortunately hasn’t been an better on extra points. After his two misses against the Niners, he sits with a .666 average, hitting on just six of his nine attempts so far this season.
At this point, I think the time has finally run out for Sturgis in LA and I hope Anthony Lynn realizes this sooner rather than later. I’d would be wildy surprised if a bus full of kicker doesn’t arrive in Costa Mesa sometime tomorrow.